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  1. “ELECTION FRAUD”: Steve Bannon’s residency issues, explained by Breitbart News articles

    August 27, 2016 by tkociemba



    The Trump campaign chief’s voter registration problem is extremely serious, according to his own website

    SIMON MALOY Follow


    The Guardian dropped an interesting scoop this morning about newly ensconced Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon, who apparently “is registered to vote in a key swing state at an empty house where he does not live, in an apparent breach of election laws.” The “swing state” in question is Florida, where Bannon used to live in a rental property in Miami-Dade County that, per the Guardian, has been empty and abandoned for months. Florida state law requires that voters be legal residents of the state in order to register to vote there, but Bannon apparently makes his home in California.


    It’s a fascinating story, given that Bannon until recently served as chairman of Breitbart News, a very bad alt-right media outlet that relentlessly hypes the dangers of voter fraud. So, in the spirit of public-interest trolling, let’s try to figure out just how serious Bannon’s alleged infraction is, according to Breitbart News’ voter fraud reporting.

    In June 2012, Breitbart published an article under the screaming headline “ELECTION FRAUD: CALIFORNIA UNION OFFICIAL VOTED IN WI RECALL” that seems relevant to Bannon’s residency issues:

    Wisconsin state law requires that before a person cast their ballot in a Wisconsin election they be a resident of the state. Specifically, residence is defined as the place “where the person’s habitation is fixed, without any present intent to move, and to which, when absent, the person intends to return.” [Wis. Stat. 6.10(1)]


    Tom Kociemba

  2. Former NC state legislator adds fuel to the fire over how charter schools are funded

    August 27, 2016 by tkociemba



    When North Carolina lawmakers heard proposals in June to dramatically revamp how charters are funded, public school advocates pleaded for more time.

    The bill before the chamber, a state Senate draft authored by a staunch charter supporter would have bound traditional K-12 schools to grant charters access to more pots of public funding. Lawmakers, concerned about the precedent of authorizing such a major change in funding during the chamber’s short session, deferred until next year.



    Some said the additional time meant a better chance of compromise in North Carolina’s annual tilting match between traditional schools and charter supporters, who claim that publicly-funded charters are being short-changed by their traditional school counterparts.

    But this week, after one of Raleigh’s most outspoken school choice backers, former state lawmaker Marcus Brandon, suggested charter leaders file a class-action suit against every county in North Carolina over funding, leaders on both sides seem farther apart than ever.

    “I just don’t know what he’s talking about,” says Leanne Winner, director of governmental relations for the N.C. School Boards Association (NCSBA), a group that represents local school boards at the General Assembly.

    Leaders in both camps have been debating charter funding in North Carolina for years, particularly since a 2010 amendment by Democrats in the legislature denied charters access to certain funding sources, such as sales tax revenues, gifts and grants traditionally bound for public school coffers.

    That includes funding grants for school lunch costs, with most traditional school supporters pointing out charters are not required to offer lunches to their students.

    As it is today, local school districts are required to transfer state allotments of funding to charters in their district based on attendance, but that method has spurred multiple challenges from charters who claim they are being bamboozled by local districts.



    Tom Kociemba



  3. Climate change is thawing deadly diseases. Maybe now we’ll address it?

    August 27, 2016 by tkociemba



    Earlier this month, an outbreak of anthrax in northern Russia caused the death of a 12-year-old boy and his grandmother and put 90 people in the hospital. These deadly spores – which had not been seen in the Arctic since 1941 – also spread to 2,300 caribou. Russian troops trained in biological warfare were dispatched to the Yamalo-Nenets region to evacuate hundreds of the indigenous, nomadic people and quarantine the disease.

    Americans are likely to associate anthrax with the mysterious white powder that was mailed to news media and US Senate offices in the weeks following 11 September 2001. The bacteria – usually sequestered in biological weapons labs – killed five people and infected 17 others in the most devastating bioterrorism attack in US history.

    But in Russia, the spread of illness was not the result of bioterrorism; it was a result of global warming. Record-high temperatures melted Arctic permafrost and released deadly anthrax spores from a thawing carcass of a caribou that had been infected 75 years ago and had stayed frozen in limbo until now. This all suggests that it may not be easy to predict which populations will be most vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change.

    In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences hosted a forum on the influence of global environmental change on infectious diseases. In his keynote speech, Dr Jonathan Patz stood in front of a large slide of a mosquito and warned: “Global warming’s greatest threat may also be the smallest.” The forum focused on many causes of disease, from fungi, bacteria, viruses and mold spores, to vectors like bats and mosquitoes. Climate change can exacerbate the spread of infectious disease by changing the behavior, lifespans and regions of diseases and their carriers.





    Tom Kociemba

  4. Poll: 62 percent of Republicans want Trump’s tax returns

    August 27, 2016 by tkociemba



    A majority of Republican voters likely to cast ballots in November want to see Donald Trump’s tax returns, according to the results of the latest national Quinnipiac University survey, out Thursday.

    Among all likely voters surveyed, 74 percent said the businessman should release his tax returns, while 21 percent said they do not think he should. More than six in 10 Republican voters, 62 percent to 31 percent, said they would like to see their party’s nominee do so. The share of Republicans calling on Trump to release his returns is actually the lowest among all demographic and ideological groups, with at least two in three of all other groups expressing a desire to see them


    The Republican nominee has refused to release the documents despite previously pledging to do so if he ever ran for the presidency, citing the fact that some of them are being audited. Some of Trump’s fellow Republicans, including House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah, have called on him to release them.

    The results came from a poll conducted Aug. 18-24, surveying 1,498 likely voters nationwide with an overall margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points




    Tom Kociemba

  5. Group condemns Trump campaign CEO for ‘anti-Catholic’ remarks

    August 27, 2016 by tkociemba



    A Catholic group is furious about comments made regarding the Catholic Church by Donald Trump‘s campaign CEO, former Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon.

    The Franciscan Action Network, a nonprofit focused on Catholic-inspired social justice, released a statement Thursday saying it was “appalled” by Bannon’s comment that the Catholic Church only supports immigration reform in the United States because “the Church is dying.”

    “The statement smacks of anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant, racist undertones,” the organization said in its statement.


    Bannon’s comments, first brought to public attention by The Hill, came during a March 8 radio interview with Princeton law professor Robert P. George, who is Catholic and a vocal critic of Trump, the Republican presidential nominee.

    After complaining that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was “rubbing his social-justice Catholicism in my nose every second,” Bannon took aim at Catholics backing immigration, accusing them of doing so to boost the Church’s dwindling membership.

    “I understand why Catholics want as many Hispanics in this country as possible, because the church is dying in this country, right, if it was not for the Hispanics,” Bannon said.

    Bannon, who did not respond to a request for comment for this story, is a proud Catholic, and in 2014 addressed a Vatican conference on Catholic responses to poverty.

    Taking aim at Bannon’s comments about Catholics and illegal immigrants, Franciscan Action Network Executive Director Patrick Carolan urged the Trump campaign to change its tone.





    Tom Kociemba

  6. The disturbing dawn of the alt-right: Donald Trump’s the leader of a dark movement in America

    August 27, 2016 by tkociemba




    The rising right-wing ethno-nationalist movement in Europe is the progenitor of Trump and the American movement


    After months of squabbling about whether it’s acceptable to use the “F” word (fascism) it seems at long last that we have come to some kind of consensus about what to call Donald Trump’s “philosophy”: alt-right, also known as white nationalism. With the hiring of the former chief of Breitbart media, ground zero for the alt-right movement, as Trump’ campaign chairman, the interest in it has now gone mainstream. Hillary Clinton will be making a speech about it later today.


    Alt-right white nationalism is an apt term for a campaign that has electrified white supremacists so it makes sense that most people would focus on the racial angle. According to this analysis in the Guardian, the rising right-wing ethno-nationalist movement in Europe  is the progenitor of this American version, which adheres to its basic premise but brings its own special brand of deep-fried racism. Both share a belief that the white race is under siege and that “demands for diversity in the workplace which means less white males in particular forms the foundation for the movement.” So it stands to reason that Trump’s border wall, Muslim ban and bellicose appeals for “law and order” (along with his overt misogyny) is a clarion call to this faction.





    Tom Kociemba

  7. Trumpism’s ugly side effect: How consumer culture is killing citizenship

    August 27, 2016 by tkociemba


    Trump’s posture embody the logic of a culture where differences between salesmanship and leadership disappear



    Donald Trump’s candidacy gives rise to many descriptors — authoritarian, bigoted, divisive. It is also the culmination of long-developing dysfunctions of a culture where market values have spread beyond appropriate limits and radically eroded citizenship.

    Though many feel hopeless about changing this culture, resources are appearing for revitalizing citizenship and for building a movement for a deeper democracy, across party lines, after this sour and dispiriting election.

    Susan Faludi describes the consumer culture well in her 1999 book, “Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man.” Drawing on interviews with groups of men from African-American shipyard workers to veterans to evangelical Christians, she shows how ideals of loyalty, team play and the mastery of a vocation were replaced by “a competitive individualism… robbed of craft or utility and ruled by commercial values that revolve around who has the most, the best, the biggest, the fastest.” Masculinity became something “to drape over the body, not draw from inner resources, to be displayed not demonstrated.”

    Trump’s public persona, winner-in-chief, is a poster child for Faludi’s male. He surrounds himself with gold-plated trinkets. He seeks to brand everything he touches. He is also a snake oil salesman, a figure familiar from American history.




    Tom Kociemba

  8. The Sky Isn’t Falling

    August 27, 2016 by tkociemba



    Critics of this week’s NLRB decision in favor of graduate student unions at private institutions say it could turn graduate education upside down. But that hasn’t happened on a campus with one of country’s oldest public-sector graduate employee unions.


    Graduate students generally celebrated this week’s decision from the National Labor Relations Board saying that graduate assistants at private institutions may now form unions because being students doesn’t preclude them from also being employees.

    But the decision elicited doom and gloom from others, including the board’s one dissenting member, who said classifying graduate students as employees could “wreak havoc” on their educations.

    Philip A. Miscimarra wrote in his dissent in the case involving student workers at Columbia University that for “most students including student assistants, attending college is the most important investment they will ever make … I do not believe our statute contemplates that it should be governed by bargaining leverage, the potential resort to economic weapons and the threat or infliction of economic injury by or against students, on the one hand, and colleges and universities, on the other.”






    Tom Kociemba

  9. There’s perhaps nothing more important for our health and well-being than access to safe drinking water.

    August 27, 2016 by admin

    And there are devastating consequences when we neglect our water infrastructure, as we’ve sadly seen in places like Flint. But right now, you and I have a chance to help fix things.

    Please join me in urging Congress to pass the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 with strong Buy America provisions.

    The infrastructure that brings water to our homes is essential for our quality of life. When water systems fail, people get sick – and some even die.
    America’s overall water infrastructure is in bad shape. Many water systems are failing, and recent drought and flooding are pushing even more systems to the brink.

    We’ve got to do something about it. The good news is that investing won’t just safeguard our health – it also will help America’s bottom line, as one-fifth of the U.S. economy depends on clean water.

    Every $1 we spend on water infrastructure improvements generates $6 in returns. And if we ensure taxpayer dollars are spent on American-made materials like iron and steel, we will create new jobs and invest even more in the American economy!

    Tell Congress to pass this crucial legislation to ensure there is a safe, dependable drinking water system for all Americans.


    Riley Ohlson
    Alliance for American Manufacturing

  10. Speaker: John Ager

    August 26, 2016 by admin

    Pot luck supper (bring dish or donate $5.00) Meeting Called to Order
    Old Business New Business Speaker Adjourn
    Speaker: John Ager
    John Ager is running for reelection as State Representative in District 115.
    1. Williams College: American Studies, graduated in 1971
    2. University of North Carolina at Asheville (Teacher Certificate)
    3. A partner in Drovers Road Preserve, Buncombe County’s first (and only) Conservation Easement Development
    4. Blue Ridge Sustainability Institute, currently on the board.
    5. Grove Arcade Foundation, Member of the Board
    6. Helped to initiate Women’s Soccer at AC Reynolds High School